Hello. I’m Gavin Edwards, contributing editor at Rolling Stone and the author of Last Night at the Viper Room, the ’Scuse Me While I Kiss This Guy series, and (with the original MTV VJs) the New York Times bestseller VJ. I live in Charlotte, North Carolina. I like caffeine, boardgames, and lists with three items.
I wrote an article for the New York Times about Jeff Jampol, who manages musicians including Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, and Rick James–as I put it, “the performers that the music business calls legacy acts and that the general public refers to as dead people.” If you’re interested in that niche of the show-business ecosystem, or if you just want to read a quote where Katy Perry’s manager coins the word “necromanagement,” dig up your Arts & Leisure section from last Friday or head over to the Times website.
posted 24 June 2016 in Articles, Outside. no comments yet
The jury is still out (literally) on whether Led Zeppelin plagiarized elements of Spirit’s “Taurus” for “Stairway to Heaven,” and whether that Wayne’s World scene will have to be updated with a sign that says NO STAIRWAY AND/OR TAURUS. But that’s not the only time Plant and Page cheekily borrowed somebody else’s work–I wrote up a list for the Rolling Stone website on some of Zep’s most blatant pinches from other artists.
posted 23 June 2016 in Articles. no comments yet
Hey everybody! My next book is all about Bill Murray and his crazy, awesome life. It’s got hundreds of stories about him enlivening movie sets, golf courses, and kickball games–many of them never told before. The Tao of Bill Murray isn’t out until September 20, but I wanted to share this excellent cover art by Derek Eads with you now. You can preorder the book from Random House, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Powell’s, or your local bookstore. If you have trouble waiting until September, just adopt “no one will ever believe you” as your personal mantra.
posted 16 May 2016 in Buy My Stuff. no comments yet
I was very sad to hear of the passing of the hugely talented comics creator Darwyn Cooke, struck down by cancer. Every page I ever saw that was drawn by him crackled with life and wit; he was also a gifted writer who had a knack for making complicated stories come alive in far fewer pages than one would expect. His two greatest achievements were probably The New Frontier (a retelling of the origins of the DC Universe) and his adaptations of the hard-boiled novels about the professional thief Parker. Both were tales set in the 1960s, but completely different in tone, artistic approach, and palette. I was lucky enough to spend an hour on the phone with Darwyn a few years back, mostly talking about Parker (we were both huge fans of the books and of their author, the late great Donald Westlake, working under the pseudonym of Richard Stark). This was Darwyn’s answer when I asked him why Parker was a character of enduring interest:
There’s probably a couple of reasons for that. One is society’s obvious attraction to criminals, frankly. That’s old ground, we don’t have to tread over that again. I know why I love the guy. It’s because he’s set up his own way to live in this world. He’s not politically affiliated, he has no purpose outside of himself, and he’s created his own set of rules that allow him to live the kind of life he wants to live. He doesn’t bitch or complain when that goes wrong. He attends to it. He carries his own water all the time. There’s some sort of, I won’t say code of right or wrong, there’s some sort of built in sense of fairness that he operates by. And he’ll violate that now and then, so it’s fun to think of him as somebody you know, but if you knew him, he’d be a terrifying person to be around. I also think he’s maybe enjoying a little resurgence of popularity because frankly, society’s not as moral as it used to be. I think he was a far more reprehensible character in the early 60s, versus most of the popular culture that was out there. Whereas against the backdrop of today, he maybe seems like a rational human being, with common sense. What seemed heinous about him doesn’t seem quite so much anymore. Although the misogynistic aspects of the character and the books can still get people going, for sure.
posted 15 May 2016 in News. no comments yet
Because I had never recapped a TV show before, I tried it for The New York Times with the first season of Vinyl, HBO’s lavish reconstruction of the early-1970s music business. The series had a promising but flawed beginning (with a two-hour pilot directed by Martin Scorsese), then it gradually got worse, then it perked up a bit, then it belly-flopped the ending and the showrunner got fired. It’s already been picked up for season two. Free advice to the show’s new producers: cool it with the celebrity impersonations already.
My recaps were not exhaustive; happily, the Times encouraged me to worry more about making a point each week than hitting every single plot development. So they might not be your best resource for catching up, but if you’re binge-watching season one, you may enjoy them as a complement to the show.
Episode one (“Pilot”), episode two (“Yesterday No More”), episode three (“Whispered Secrets”), episode four (“The Racket”), episode five (“He in Racist Fire”), episode six (“Cyclone”), episode seven (“The King and I”), episode eight (“E.A.B.”), episode nine (“Rock and Roll Queen”), episode ten (“Alibi”).
posted 9 May 2016 in Outside. no comments yet
A few favorite artists I missed on seeing live when I was younger and probably won’t ever get to now: Talking Heads, Hüsker Dü, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. (Okay, that last one definitely isn’t happening, because he’s dead.) The Replacements would have been high on that wish list, except I caught the reunion tour at Coachella a couple of years back–which was pretty much everything I had hoped for. I got to extend the glory days a little longer by reviewing Bob Mehr’s totally enjoyable history of the band, Trouble Boys, for the Barnes and Noble Review: go check it out.
A favorite story from the book that didn’t make it into the review: the week after I saw them at Coachella, Paul Westerberg did most of the next show reclined on a couch onstage, saying that he was suffering from back pain. Filling in as frontman was Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, who played with the band for some gigs after that. Mehr reports that when Westerberg decided his services were no longer required, he told him, “Billie, I’m firing the whole band—but we’re going in alphabetical order.”
posted 25 March 2016 in Outside. 1 comment
What’s that? You say you’re curious about my recent work for the Rolling Stone website? Well, you better start clicking up a storm, because in the last couple of months, I wrote about Bill Murray’s awesome Christmas special, the Beatles’ most blatant swipes from other artists, the musicians and musical figures who died in 2015, and the next U2 album. I also wrote up “flashback” looks at live performances by the Clash, Joni Mitchell, Aretha Franklin, and the Smiths. In addition, I ranked all of Guns N’ Roses’ videos, from worst to best, and interviewed genius screenwriter Charlie Kaufman about his latest movie, Anomalisa. And because life sucks, Scott Weiland and David Bowie both died: I unearthed a never-printed conversation I had with Weiland and wrote about Bowie’s “TVC15,” “Fame,” and “The Jean Genie.”
posted 2 February 2016 in Links. no comments yet
I discovered that my Woody Harrelson interview from 2009 had fallen victim to a website redesign at Maxim: but now it lives on in the archives here. Thrill to the advance word of Zoe Kravitz as a budding sex symbol!
posted 29 January 2016 in Archives. no comments yet
At some point in the mid-90s, I turned down the chance to interview Stone Temple Pilots: I had already written too many profiles of heroin addicts, and right then, I couldn’t listen one more time to stories of the drug and its inevitable toll on human lives. A decade later, I ended up spending a couple of days with Velvet Revolver for a Rolling Stone article, so I heard some of those stories anyway. A decade after that, Scott Weiland is dead. It always sucks, no matter how unsurprising it is.
When I heard the news late last night, I went back to my interview transcripts from 2004 and reread my conversation with Scott (previously unpublished excerpts from that interview are now on the Rolling Stone website as “The Lost Q&A.”) He was smart, he was creative, he was skittish. He didn’t like living out his addiction dramas in public, and had declared that after talking to me he would be taking six months off from talking to the press, but even when I would bring up other topics of conversation, he always ended up talking about heroin and its consequences. The gravitational force of the drug was too great.
posted 4 December 2015 in News, Uncategorized. 1 comment
I took some time off from Rolling Stone because I was working on a slew of books, but in recent months, I’ve had a few pieces appear on the RS website. I wrote up the memoirs by Carly Simon (who proved to be an impressive prose stylist) and Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen (who didn’t), a goofy Thanksgiving list, some vintage video clips of Neil Young, doing “Powderfinger” with Crazy Horse and “Country Feedback” with R.E.M., and two dispatches from the wild world of Bill Murray, one about Rock the Kasbah and one about his devotion to poetry. Enjoy!
posted 2 December 2015 in Outside. no comments yet